Woody Allen doesnt really count in the same category as any other currently working director today. As a director he is so fondly held that he can pick and choose any cast he wants (though Nicole Kidman was forced to pull out of this particular project) and he can be forgiven no matter how many times he rehashes the same themes in every film he makes. He is like any successful rock band: in fact, as obtuse as it may seem, he has a lot in common with mega-star Australian rockers ACDC- both know a good thing when they see it, and rather than departing radically from a set spine of themes and ideas, they merely offer slightly new renders of that model. And we love them for it.
He also still has an astonishing turnover of films (he is already making the next), and while 'Match Point','Vicky Cristina Barcelona' and 'Whatever Works' dont really compare to 'Annie Hall', 'Manhattan' and 'Sleeper', they are still markedly better than about 90% of the films that other directors put out a competitors.
The next to be released will be 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger', which will debut out of competition at this year's Cannes film festival, and almost inevitably, Allen has kept his cards very close to his chest, meaning we know very little about the September released film. Even the official synopsis that the Cannes film pack offers is conspicuously bare...
A little romance, some sex, some treachery and apart from that, a few laughs. The lives of a group of people whose passions, ambitions and anxieties force them all into assorted troubles that run the gamut from ludicrous to dangerous.
What is certain is that Allen wont subtitute grandeur in place of any of his staple themes or style- he will continue to make endearing, small movies (perhaps still stung a little by $26m relative flop 'The Curse of the Jade Scorpion'), and he will continue to find favour on European markets:
In the United States things have changed a lot, and it's hard to make good small films now. The avaricious studios couldn't care less about good films if they get a good film they're twice as happy, but money-making films are their goal. They only want these $100 million pictures that make $500 million.
So, it is perhaps even more fitting that 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger' will first hit screens in Cannes next week.
Reasons to be Excited - Does it really need spelling out? It's Woody Allen. The man is one of the greatest auteurs to ever try his hand at film-making. While accusations abound that he has lost his touch, and essentially just remakes different aspects of the same film over and over, the fact remains that Allen's body of work includes several of the most iportant films ever made.
- Again, and typically of an Allen project the cast is incredible. Josh Brolin makes it two Out of Competition films in one festival, with the rest of the behemoth cast made up of Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Anna Friel, Lucy Punch, Ewen Bremner, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts (also making it two films in the festival- along with Doug Liman's'Fair Game').